Wind Generator with Sails

I have come across the following information. For the region I live in, it's been said that wind energy exploitation potential is low due to low constant winds throughout a year. My question is the following. I am an avid sailor, so I understand a little bit about foils and what bugs my mind the most is why aren't sails used for "wind mills" anymore? They certainly project a wider area to harness more wind. Foil form can be adjusted depending on the needs as is the area of contact which could be done with a simple furling device. I understand the complications to install -and mantain- sails for 100m tall towers offshore. But why aren't they even an option for low wind regions like this? What am I missing that is so obvious? As I understand it, the wider area would make the mill rotate at even the lowest windspeeds. Is it resistance from the generator? Is it a minimum given amount of RPM the rotor has to make that just aren't impossible at the lowest windspeeds?

Thank you for any comments!


  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: Wind Generator with Sails

    Welcome to the forum.

    I rather suspect the issue is one of return on investment. In this case not financially so much as physically. Low winds don't have much power in them. When you may sails or blades large enough to capture any significant amount of power from them you end up with a huge amount of mass in the sails alone which will consume most of the power you capture. Reducing the weight of the material used may help, but then you'd probably get into the financial problem; the light-weight and sturdy materials that would grab the wind without using up all the power tend to be very costly.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wind Generator with Sails

    Here, the link test sail windmill.
    Characteristics, the most common
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wind Generator with Sails

    My personal opinion? For generating usable electricity, and doing it reliably, it's beating a dead horse.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,630 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wind Generator with Sails

    A sailor will one day no matter how they try and avoid it, run into big winds! It might only happen once in your life. You might run into big winds more often if you go full time. The point is that any wind generator has to be able to withstand the very rare times when even in locations that do not get big winds, experience them. Just the sound in my memory still raises the hairs on my neck.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
    E-mail [email protected]

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